Charlie and the Drinking Game

"When I was little," Charlie said, "I wanted to be a scientist. I wanted to cure morning breath."

The brunette across the bar from him blinked and tilted her head. Charlie lifted a shot glass to his lips and downed its contents, barely making a face afterward.

"Um, no offense, but…is this place supposed to smell like garbage?" she inquired, her own fingers curling around another glass.

"I have a special way of heating it, Harper," he replied, patting the bar, looking around at the [unpleasant] ambiance of Paddy's Pub. "Earth-friendly, unique…it's resourceful."

"It's…I'm sorry to be so rude…but it's really bad for business."

Charlie paused then, having brief flashbacks to moments when his co-owners of Paddy's Pub had done things just as unordinary as his use of garbage to fuel the heating system. Kidnapping, theft of a cat, not patching up a glory hole…he prided himself on having a circle of unstable friends to support his recklessness.

"You remember the rules of the game!" he said, responding to his counterpart's opinion. "You agreed to them! I shared a secret, now it's your turn."

Harper adjusted the bandana folded around her wrist like a cuff. "All right, all right…um…I know how to make a lot of different kinds of drinks and I know a decent amount about beers," She took her shot and screwed her eyes shut. "Oh god, that…that does not taste the way I thought it would."

"I once made out with a female Elvis Presley impersonator."

Charlie's happy, innocent expression was met with Harper's raised eyebrow and scrunched nose. She opened her mouth to speak.

"Your turn!" he cried.

"I..I don't know how to ride a bike."

"Really? I'm allergic to pigeons."

"I have myself convinced that orange pulp would make me really sick."

Charlie refilled their glasses.

"I like rum," Harper said, looking up at him through her lashes. "But this stuff tastes like rum itself got too drunk and threw up into that bottle."

"I've always wondered if Mystique's snot is a different color from that of humans or other X-Men characters." Charlie told her, handing her one of the glasses.

"I once made a necklace from real crab claws and gave it to my mother as a birthday gift." Harper replied.

They took their shots at the same time. As soon as his glass was on the bar again, Charlie walked around it, sliding onto the stool next to hers. He stared at her large brown eyes, with the slight golden color around the irises. The thin layer of black liner along the upper lid only served to sharpen the look she was giving him.

"I'm a hopeless romantic, I guess," he said. "I mean really hopeless. There's this waitress who---"

Harper giggled (in that slow, booze-affected way) and gently touched her fingertips to Charlie's mouth. "I was told about her…the musical and a restraining order…"

He nodded. "Yeah, her, and from then on, I haven't been able to get a woman's interest when I really just want someone to be with me when I throw rocks at raccoons and play drunken laser tag."

Harper's eyes widened. "Oh man, laser tag, I'm in! So long as you'll sit through Replicant and simultaneously stuff your face with chocolate non-stop until you almost puke."

Running a hand through his stylishly disheveled hair (sleeping on a stiff, dirty mattress every night can do that), Charlie leaned in a little closer, wondering what her hair smelled like.

She took another shot. "I used to own a dog that only liked to eat birds; even big ones."

"I've done that." He answered easily, knocking back more liquor.

She laughed until her forehead met his shoulder. He turned his face just as she lifted hers.

"Whenever I get near a game of volleyball," he said softly. "I start this flinching twitch. Here, I'll demonstrate---"

"I went to college with the singular goal of becoming an event planner for homeless people."

He chuckled, smiling. She gasped at the sight.

"Your eyes just lit up!" she whispered.

"Let's share a pet chimp." He whispered back.

It made her sigh.

He halted at that.

"How old are you again?" he asked.

She grinned. "Old enough. For sure."

"But I met you outside of a high school."

"Don't be gross."

And he kissed her.

I had to do this. I had to. I'm losing what's left of my sanity, clearly, but I hope it's entertaining all the same. 05.17.10